T-oligos augment UV-induced protective responses in human skin

Simin Arad, Nellie Konnikov, David A. Goukassian, Barbara A. Gilchrest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


We have shown that DNA oligonucleotides substantially homologous to the telomere 3-prime overhang sequence (T-oligos) increase DNA repair capacity (DRC) in cultured human cells and decrease UV-induced mutation rate and photocarcinogenesis in mouse skin. To investigate the protective effects of T-oligos in intact human skin, paired skin explants obtained from adult donors were treated with T-oligos or diluent alone for 24 h, then UVB- or sham-irradiated, and processed after 6, 24, 48, 72, and 96 h for histological analysis. After UV irradiation apoptotic epidermal cells were comparable in diluent- and T-oligo-treated skin. Proliferating (Ki67+) cells were sparse in sham-irradiated skin and for 24 h after UV in both diluent- and T-oligo-treated specimens. However, compared to diluent controls, at 48 and 72 h T-oligos significantly inhibited UV-induced rebound hyperproliferation. Maximum and comparable cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) were detected immediately after UV irradiation in diluent- and T-oligo-treated skin, but CPDs were strikingly reduced in T-oligo- vs. diluent-treated skin at 24, 48, and 72 h. Total and activated p53 protein was increased in T-oligo- vs. diluent-pretreated skin at the time of irradiation, and up to 3-fold increases persisted for 24 h post-UV. Over 5 days, UV irradiation and T-oligo comparably increased expression of melanogenic proteins and each increased epidermal melanin content 3- to 5-fold, with distinct nuclear capping in many keratinocytes. In combination, these findings predict that T-oligo treatment will increase melanogenesis, prolong epidermal arrest, and increase DNA repair rate after UV irradiation, thus decreasing the severity of acute and chronic photodamage in human skin. Moreover, the data document an inducible SOS-like response consisting of increased melanogenesis and increased DNA repair capacity in human skin following UV-induced damage that is also produced by T-oligos in the absence of initial damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1237-E1247
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • CPD
  • Melanin content
  • NER
  • Oligonucleotides


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